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Cyber-Savvy Tips

Opens in popupRead transcriptfor Cyber-Savvy Tips

Upbeat music plays throughout.

Onscreen text: CYBER-SAVVY TIPS FROM SCHWAB

An animation of an older, white-haired woman speaking.

WOMAN: Scammers and fraudsters are constantly trying to take advantage of people like us. They must think we’re really gullible. That’s why it’s up to all of us to be the first line of defense to help protect our own assets.

An email appears that takes up the whole screen. It shows an underlined link.

The animated woman appears on the screen as if she’s inside the email.

WOMAN: You might get an email that looks urgent, or like it’s from a legitimate source. It’ll often have a link they hope we’ll click on. But look closely at the sender’s name, and hover over the link. There could be dead giveaways that it’s fake, like typos and errors.

The woman points to some of the typos in the body of the mail, then at the link.

WOMAN: If you click on the link, it might download a virus or malware into your computer to steal your info.

The woman grabs the link, looks at it disapprovingly, crumples it up, and tosses it in a trash can.

WOMAN (offscreen): So if you see typos in your email, trash it.

Onscreen text: SchwabSafe™

WOMAN: The Schwab Security Guarantee can provide some additional protection, but we’ve all got to be on our toes when we’re online.

Onscreen text: Schwab.com/SchwabSafe

WOMAN (offscreen): Learn more about online security and the Schwab Security Guarantee at Schwab.com/SchwabSafe.

Onscreen text: [Schwab logo] Own your tomorrow®
©2020 Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. ("Schwab"). All rights reserved. Member SIPC.
CC4547201 (1020-018C) (09/20)

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Help protect against scams and scammers

Technology is continually making huge advancements that make life more efficient for all of us. But at the same time, scammers are also making improvements in how they try to get our money. By following a few tips and simple guidelines, we can all help protect our money and stay one step ahead. 

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Top 5 anti-phishing tips

Top 5 anti-phishing tips

  • Don't click on links or attachments included in unknown or suspicious emails and texts.
  • Hover over links to reveal the website's URL and see where the link really goes.
  • Be suspicious of emails that have grayed out "CC:" and "To:" lines as they may have been sent to a mass distribution list.
  • Check the sender's domain name in the email address (john.doe@schwab.com) to ensure it matches what you'd expect to see.
  • Create two email accounts, one for personal and a second for more public distribution; use spam filters on both.

For more tips, read our guide on phishing.

Top 5 tips for avoiding scams

Top 5 tips for avoiding scams

  •  Always verbally verify money movement instructions with the recipient and ask for supporting documentation.
  • Perform your own due diligence. Research the recipient/product/person to validate the legitimacy of the request or search for scams/complaints associated with the other party.
  • Use appropriate disbursement channels/methods to make payments. Avoid prepaid debit cards, gift cards, and digital currency.
  • When you can, view goods in person, pay after services are completed, and send money only to people you’ve met in person.
  • Use services that have purchase protection and/or an escrow service, especially for high-dollar transactions.

Top 4 actions to take when encountering fraud or identity theft.

Top 4 actions to take when encountering fraud or identity theft.

  • Immediately report the fraud or identity theft to your financial institution and follow any instructions they provide regarding your account.
  • Contact the fraud department of your creditors, such as credit card issuers, phone companies, banks, and lenders to dispute unauthorized charges.
  • Report the crime to your local police. Even though the incident may cross multiple jurisdictions, your local police will file a formal report and refer you to additional resources and agencies that can help.
  • Contact the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to request a fraud alert on your account and a freeze on your credit report. Dispute any fraudulent activity on your credit report. Contact information for all three credit bureaus is provided below.

For more details, download our identity theft checklist.

Visit our video library

Visit the SchwabSafe video library for tips and tutorials on how to stay safe against scammers.

Common questions

We want you to have the highest level of confidence when you do business with Schwab, so we offer this simple guarantee: Schwab will cover losses in any of your Schwab accounts due to unauthorized activity. See details. Read the full terms of the Schwab Security Guarantee.

Avoid using public or "open" wireless networks, as many are not secure and your information could become vulnerable. Instead, consider an alternative such as a personal Wi-Fi hotspot to securely connect your laptop/tablet to your mobile phone’s cellular signal. Contact your cell phone carrier for information. If you do use a public Wi-Fi, avoid visiting sensitive sites or apps that may contain personal and/or financial information about you.

Creating complex account-access credentials (passwords with different log in IDs) for each of your online accounts is an effective way to defend yourself from criminals attempting to gain access to your accounts. Password managers can help support this approach by using just one master password to access all of your individual account passwords. These tools can be downloaded onto your desktop or mobile device for creation and maintenance of strong passwords. They are designed to ensure your credentials are complex and randomized, along with keeping them encrypted. There are some variations with features and cost, so research providers and read reviews prior to selecting a password manager.

Identity theft prevention services that provide credit and identity monitoring are one of the many tools available to you that can assist in safeguarding your identity. While these services cannot stop your information from being compromised or fraudsters from opening an account with your stolen identity, they can help monitor for identity theft and assist with the recovery process in the event theft occurs. There are many services available, so perform your due diligence, research providers, read reviews, and select the service that best meets your individual needs. Consider using these services in conjunction with other practices, such as freezing and regularly monitoring your credit. 

For more information on monitoring services, visit the FTC website.

Schwab may call you to confirm certain money movements or other transactions. If so, Schwab will always attempt to authenticate your identity before discussing any account information. Schwab will not ask for your Schwab.com username, password or Visa® debit card PIN over the phone. If you are ever concerned or suspicious about a call, call Schwab directly at 800-435-4000, log onto Schwab.com, or call the phone number on the back of your Visa® debit card or credit card for bank inquiries.

Always use caution when acting on texts or emails from any institution. In addition, do not assume you are speaking with an institution based on caller ID. Text messages, emails, and phone calls can appear to come from Schwab or other institutions when they are indeed from a fraudster. Although Schwab does use these channels to communicate and verify account activity, Schwab will not ask you to disclose your Visa debit card PIN, personal information (via email), or your online password. If you do click on a hyperlink within an email or text, never enter your Schwab.com username and password, or upload personal documents, like a statement. If you are ever concerned about a text message, email or phone call, contact Schwab directly at 800-435-4000. Forward suspicious emails or screenshots of suspicious texts to phishing@schwab.com. For more insight, see our guide "Protect yourself from phishing".

Unauthorized activity can vary in type and frequency. Activity can take place immediately, months later, or may never occur. If you believe or know your information has been compromised, be on the lookout for activity including unusual or unauthorized withdrawals from accounts, bills from unfamiliar people or companies, loans in your name that you did not apply for, and/or tax returns filed in your name you did not authorize. If you suspect fraud or identify theft, see below for additional steps you can take to further protect your identity.   

View our Identity Theft Checklist for safety precautions you can take if you are a victim. Consider additional measures such as setting up alerts with your financial institutions to notify you of any account activity and changes to your account.  

When logging into financial accounts to transfer money, use two-step verification or other authentication methods. In addition, before transferring funds online, ensure the instructions and intended beneficiary are accurate. Confirm any instructions received via email by calling the financial institution or recipient. Criminals can compromise email addresses and insert fraudulent instructions within an email thread, a common tactic for real estate transactions. Lastly, be aware of scam tactics and educate yourself on known schemes. For more insight, see "Protect yourself from scams".

Additional steps you can take.

*This feature is not available to participant sin workplace retirement plans administered by Schwab Retirement Plan Services, Inc.

Contact

  • Have questions about security at Schwab?

    Call us at 800-435-4000.